Republican leaders of the Michigan House of Representatives have removed Rep. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, from her committee assignments in response to a video she posted Sunday on Facebook.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, issued a joint news release Wednesday stating Johnson made threats in the video.
Johnson, who is Black, has received a litany of death threats and racist messages after she tried to question Rudy Giuliani during a recent legislative committee hearing. She has posted several voicemails to her Facebook page, including some calling for her to be lynched.
At the end of a roughly three-minute video posted Tuesday evening to Facebook, Johnson referenced law enforcement tracking down someone who made a threat against her before issuing what she called a warning.
“So, this is just a warning to you Trumpers. Be careful. Walk lightly. We ain’t playing with you. Enough of the shenanigans. Enough is enough,” Johnson states in the video.
“And for those of you who are soldiers, you know how to do it. Do it right. Be in order. Make them pay. I love y’all.”
The last few seconds of the video have received considerable attention on social media, and were specifically cited in a press release Wednesday from the Michigan Republican Party. But in the same video, Johnson also calls on supporters to “hit ’em in their pocketbooks” and thanks people for “doing things right and in order.” Johnson did not immediately return a voicemail or email seeking comment.
Chatfield and Wentworth did not identify what they specifically deemed threatening from the video, and a spokesman did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification.
“Threats to either Democrats or Republicans are unacceptable and un-American. They’re even more unbecoming of an elected official. Rep. Johnson has been removed from her committee assignments, and we are looking into further disciplinary action as the proper authorities conduct their own investigations,” Chatfield and Wentworth said in the joint statement.
“We have been consistent in our position on this — violence and intimidation is never appropriate in politics. We have said that about threats against Gov. Whitmer, Secretary (of State Jocelyn) Benson, Rep. Johnson herself, and others. That applies to threats made toward public officials, and it must also apply when the threats come from public officials. Behavior like this will not be tolerated this term or next.”
Chatfield and Wentworth did not say what authorities, if any, are investigating the statements made by Johnson or outline what additional discipline is possible.
At the start of the Tuesday Facebook video, Johnson thanks “everybody who is supporting our efforts, and when I say our efforts, I’m talking about doing things right and in order.”
“Don’t get upset with folks, and start cussing them out and all that. Don’t. It never works,” she states.
“Be smart. You don’t have to yell. You don’t have to curse anybody out. You don’t have to call people names. Hit their asses in the pocketbook. Hit ‘em in the pocketbook.”
In a second video posted Wednesday morning, Johnson elaborated on her message to “soldiers.”
“All you soldiers, soldiers of Christ. Soldiers against racism. Soldiers against misogyny. Soldiers against domestic violence and domestic terrorism. Soldiers: Rise, it’s time for you to rise,” Johnson said in a portion of the video.
In a press released Wednesday, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox said Johnson was inciting violence with her “deranged Facebook rant” posted Tuesday.
“It was distressing to know that Representative Johnson received threats after last week’s hearing, however by issuing threats of violence of her own against the supporters of President Trump she has sunk to the same level as the unhinged individuals who threatened her,” Johnson said, calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Democrats to denounce Johnson’s comments.
Representatives for Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and House Minority Leader Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
– Dave Boucher
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: House GOP removes Detroit Democrat from committees, citing ‘threats’ in her Facebook video
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